Cost-effective, Low Power Chip Scale Atomic Clock for Satellites in Low Earth Orbit

Microsemi has introduced the industry's first commercially available radiation-tolerant Space Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC). The CSAC is ideally suited for low Earth orbit (LEO) applications, and provides the accuracy and stability of atomic clock technology while achieving significant breakthroughs in reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) consumption.

The SA.45s is the newest member of Microsemi's CSAC product family, the Commercial Space CSAC provides excellent drift performance and built-in 1 pulse per second (PPS) input for GPS disciplining, making the device well-suited for holdover applications. It is targeted at several other commercial space and space research applications, including satellite timing and frequency control, satellite cross linking, assured position, navigation and timing; and Earth observation.

With many spacecraft manufacturers turning to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts to meet performance, schedule and cost requirements, the Commercial Space CSAC offers a solution for many satellite missions.

According to a market intelligence report by Euroconsult titled, "Satellites to be Built & Launched by 2026 World Market Survey," the total revenue for satellite manufacture and launch is expected to be $304 billion between 2017-2026. With revenues of $102 billion, LEO is expected to account for a third of the total market, with 82 percent derived from satellite manufacturing.

As a stand-alone atomic clock with a 10 megahertz (MHz) CMOS-compatible output, Microsemi's Commercial Space CSAC is a timing module providing an impressive short-term stability (Allan Deviation) and frequency stability across the operating temperature (TempCo). A standard CMOS-level RS-232 serial interface is built into the device, which is used to control and calibrate the unit and provide a comprehensive set of status monitors. The interface is also used to set and read the CSAC's precise internal time-of-day clock. Microsemi's radiation-tolerant ruggedized oscillators also include OCXOs and state-of-the art EMXOs for applications that require higher accuracy and can support higher power consumption.

Other key features of this CSAC device include:

  • Power consumption of less than 120 milliwatts (mW)
  • Less than 17 cubic centimeters volume (1.6" × 1.39" × 0.45")
  • Radiation-tolerant: 20 krad
  • Single event latch-up (SEL) and single event upset (SEU) tested to 64 megaelectron-volts per square centimeter/milligram (Mev-cm2/mg)
  • Short-term stability (Allan Deviation) of 3.0 × 10–10 at TAU = 1 sec
  • Frequency stability across temperature range (TempCo) less than 5x10-10
  • 1PPS output and 1PPS input for synchronization and time-keeping
  • RS-232 interface for monitoring and control

Click here to learn more about this device.


  • Country: United States
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